I had to double-cross Donny.
We started eating pigeon instead of chicken
and that helped some.
I pawned Donny’s clothes, my pain meds,
and the double-boiler.
I wrote myself notes
because he didn’t have anything
to double-cross: Cleora,
double-check that you cashed
the check this time. Cleora,
wring out everything for soup.
My winnowings stripped
the house of heat and for heat
we fed the barrel
floorboards and instead
of floorboards we walked
on the slats. And it was beginning to work
and he hadn’t seemed to notice
and when I made it home
with the marijuana
he was eating chicken in full-on clothes
instead of the paper bags
which we had both agreed to wear.
I am a weeping man playing a song he doesn’t know—
holding his voice like a desperate, ruined woman clutches
her imagined infant and draws what will have to suffice for comfort
This instrument is an oar and I the landscape of crippled trees and distant towers meant for its churning.
And as the prow beds the sea, the prophecies, the stage directions and sheet music reveal a way so subtly flawed and incomprehensible that deciding what would do best seems as inadvisable as whatever it is I’m doing.
Ari Feld grew to young manhood in the midwest and is now graduating again. This fall he will move to Spain with his sweetie.